Morocco is part of the European Commission’s newly proposed economic recovery plan for the Meditarennean basin.
Agadir – The European Commission (EC) adopted on February 9 a joint communication proposing a new agenda for the Mediterranean, guiding the European Union’s policy towards its “Southern neighbours,” including Morocco.
The new agenda puts forward a dedicated Economic and Investment Plan to aid the long-term socio-economic recovery of the Meditarrenean basin. Beside Morocco, other beneficiary states include Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Syria, and Tunisia.
The European Union’s Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) will allocate up to €7 billion (MAD 76 billion) to the region between 2021 and 2027. This could mobilise up to €30 billion (MAD 325 billion) in private and public investment in the Meditarennean over the next decade.
The new Southern Neighbourhood proposal draws attention to five key policy areas: Human development, good governance and the rule of law; resilience, prosperity and digital transition; peace and security; migration and mobility; and green transition.
Speaking at a press conference, European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Oliver Varhelyi explained that for each country the EC has defined “specific proposals and programs.” He went on to note that the proposal for “Morocco, for example, is different from what is proposed for other countries.”
With Morocco, the EU will prioritize support in ensuring equitable access to social services, democratic governance, the rule of law, employment, sustainable growth, and enhancing the capacity of civil society.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerability of many county’s economies. In the case of Morocco, an EC working document notes that “the EU stands ready to contribute to Morocco’s economic recovery plan” by co-financing initiatives proposed under the Strategic Investment Fund set up by King Mohamed VI.
The EC will also support the reform of higher education in Morocco with the aim to modernize it and help make it more relevant to the job market.
The agenda also pointed to the “EU-Morocco Green Partnership” as the means to help Morocco achieve a sustainable economy. The EC will offer support in sustainable production and consumption by ensuring the transition to a circular, low emissions, inclusive and resilient economy. Also included in the EU’s support scheme are sustainable investments, such initiatives to enhance the management and treatment of waste and water/wastewater.
The EU will continue to support renewable energy infrastructure in Morocco, including renewed support for the country’s efforts to meet its “ambitious targets” in renewable energy and resource management.
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The increased investment will help Morocco achieve its renewable energy ambitions. The country has invested over MAD 52 billion ($5.65 billion) in renewable energies over the past decade. A 2020 report showed that the North African country could produce up to 96% of its electricity using renewable energy by 2050.
The EU will also contribute to Morocco’s Green Generation initiative, aiding agricultural and rural development, through joint efforts to boost the sector’s productivity and competitiveness.
The EU is also concerned with Morocco’s digitization process, supporting Morocco’s ascension to the Horizon Europe research program (2021-2027). On this front, the EU will finance digital infrastructure in Morocco while reinforcing the country’s reliability, capacity, and security.
Finally, the EC hopes to draw attention to the importance of social protection systems, social infrastructure, and fundamental labor rights. Within this framework, the EU will increase its support in developing a modern and just social protection system in Morocco.
With its Neighborhood Instrument, the EU contributed €1.4 billion (MAD 15 billion) to Morocco during the 2014-2020 period. In 2020, Morocco saw an additional €30 million (MAD 325 million) from the incentive mechanism, following the progress made in socio-economic reforms.
“The 25th anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration reminds us that a strengthened Mediterranean partnership remains a strategic imperative for the European Union… By acting together, recognising our growing interdependence, and in a spirit of partnership, we will turn common challenges into opportunities, in our mutual interest,” concluded a press release from European External Action Service.